Is Buchholz finally ready to stick?

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buchholz-100318.jpgIs it possible? Is Clay Buchholz all “growsed” up?

It’s certainly sounding like it after another strong spring outing by the confident young right-hander. And with less competition in camp this spring, the 25-year-old has his mind set on finally earning a regular spot in Boston’s starting rotation.

[From MLB.com]

“Last year I sort of knew that I didn’t have a spot coming into Spring Training, because we had Smoltzie and BP in front of me,” Buchholz said. “So it was a little different. But at the same time, I’m preparing the same, going out and trying to do the things that I work on out of the game, and I’m trying to bring them into the game. So I feel the same. It’s the same goal to break camp with the team, and that’s going to remain my goal for the duration of Spring Training. But nothing really different about it.”

This sounds like a different Buchholz from the guy who admitted frustration at being stuck in the minors last season.

Instead, he sounds determined to win a starting spot for the long term and not just until Daisuke Matsuzaka returns to full health. Maybe he will finally get a chance to live up to the promise he showed so spectacularly with a no-hitter back in 2007.

And whether he sticks long term or not, it seems likely he’ll cease to be the constant subject of trade rumors. Unless, you know, a certain basher in the Pacific time zone becomes available. Then all bets are off.

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Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.